Solar Rainbow Dances: Discovery at Home

What you need:

  • Two pieces of paper.
  • Scissors.
  • CD.
  • Tape.
  • Sunny day.


  1. Create a paper snowflake using one of the pieces of paper.
  2. Tape the paper snowflake to the blank/more reflective side of the CD so that the tape is only on the label side.
  3. Head outside on a sunny day and tape the other piece of paper to a fence/wall/window or have someone hold it for you.
  4. Reflect the sunlight so it hits the patterned CD and shows the colorful reflection on the paper.
  5. Move the CD back and forth and rotate it. You’re creating a dancing rainbow!

Ways to Expand the Activity:

  • Trace the patterns that are reflected.
  • Cut different paper snowflakes and compare the different patterns that are reflected.
  • Try to cut out a specific shape to create a pattern that you want to create.
  • Use a flashlight. Are you able to create the rainbow dances inside using a flashlight?

What Kids Learn:

  • Interference patterns. When light passes through something with small defects like scratches, you can see rainbow colors and unique patterns.
  • Experimentation! When kids experiment, they're learning how to learn. Failure is an important part of experimenting, so let kids try things that won’t work. It’s how they figure things out!


  • Reflection. Change in direction of a wave that returns waves back from a surface.